Billed the ‘Battle of Britain’, Celtic had already gone to Elland Road and won 1-0 in the first-leg, but this was the game no-one in the green half of Glasgow wanted to miss.
The demand for tickets was incredulous. So much so, Celtic decided to move the game to Hampden Park to avail of its greater capacity.
136,505 ticketed fans turned up on the night, 15 April 1970, fifty-one years ago. It remains a record crowd for any UEFA competition match and is unlikely ever to be beaten.
Both sides played in their national cup finals on the previous Saturday, Celtic going down surprisingly 1-3 to Aberdeen, captained by a young Martin Buchan who would go on to become the first man to captain Scottish and FA Cup winning teams when he completed the feat in 1977 with Manchester United.
Leeds had played out a gruelling 2-2 Wembley draw with Chelsea who equalized with just two minutes to spare and then faced extra-time.
Two days later (Monday) at Parkhead while a few hundred people watched Celtic Reserves beat Partick Thistle Reserves 4-1 inside, an estimated four thousand 4,000 queued up outside for 5,000 extra tickets for the big match.
Leeds had failed to shift their allocation of 10,000 and had advised Celtic that they would send the unsold tickets back to Glasgow. The tickets were advertised as going on sale at 4 o’clock, but they failed to arrive and at 10pm a loudspeaker announced, “Leeds have let us down very badly,” The dejected fans took the news well, all things considered and trudged home.
Leeds claimed there had been a misunderstanding; they had still been selling tickets throughout the day. Then the Yorkshire club’s secretary Keith Archer assured fans that, “Five thousand, five hundred, 12 shilling (60 pence) tickets are now on their way to Celtic.”
The tickets arrived at Celtic assistant manager Sean Fallon’s house just after midnight, and went on sale at 7pm on the night before the match.
Despite Billy Bremner firing Leeds into a 14th minute lead to level the tie, Celtic scored two quick-fire goals soon after the re-start through John Hughes (47) and Bobby Murdoch (51).
It may have been the very first time I set eyes upon the great Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone, and what a display he produced. Anyone unfamiliar with the name, needs to check out YouTube without delay, one of the greatest wingers EVER, of that there's no doubt.
Celtic deservedly won the tie 3-1 on aggregate and advanced to their second European Cup final in four years, where at the San Siro they lost 1-2 to Feyenoord, who became the first Dutch side to win the trophy.